Unfair Share
Friday, October 30, 2009 | Author: eventer79
Friday Fun Fact!

If you divided all the water in the world equally among everyone, each person would get 2.5 gallons of their own.

The average American uses 400 gallons.

Yes, something is very very wrong with this picture! Contrary to popular belief, water is NOT an infinite resource that will just magically keep coming out of the tap after you turn it on. We MUST get better at using water wisely and stop assuming that fairy magic will clean it and return it to us after we use it. Why? Because even in the US, our freshwater supplies are imperiled; already there are lawsuits and other fights across the country. If we want to continue to have access to clean, safe drinking water, each of us are going to have to take steps to make that happen.

Need ideas? Try 100 ways to conserve water; that should give you plenty to work on!

The Magic Number
Monday, October 26, 2009 | Author: eventer79
So I am back from some more travel! My apologies once again for missing your Friday Fun Fact, it could not be helped.

Today I want to share a fun and important campaign from the Center for Biological Diversity called 350 Reasons We Need To Get To 350. In short, 350 species that will be in big trouble if we cannot get atmospheric carbon levels to 350 parts per million.

You can check out the regional map to find out species in your area that have made the list, sign the petition asking the Obama administration to follow the clear science, join the cause on Facebook, read the science behind the number, follow the campaign on Twitter, or even submit your own photo to be part of the 350 exhibit which will travel to Copenhagen.

Sometimes Updates Are Sad
Tuesday, October 20, 2009 | Author: eventer79
Around 100 wolves have already been killed in the Montana and Idaho wolf slaughter (previous posts here). The famous and much studied Yellowstone Cottonwood pack has been wiped out, leaving only pups who will starve without the support of the adults. These wolves did nothing to earn their fate. They never preyed on livestock or harrassed anyone. They were helping increase the health of elk herds and native vegetation communities through the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Their thanks is a bullet.

Science? Ignored. Predator-prey dynamics? Dismissed. Ecosystem function? Unvalued. Thousands of years of evolution and history? Trashed.

Propaganda? Saluted. Untruths and misleading fearmongering? Rampant. Selective reasoning? Celebrated.

Call. Write. Be heard.

Find your senators and representatives here. At the same website, you can also find out how to contact the governors and representatives from Montana and Idaho, who have purposely targeted wilderness and backcountry wolves, quite the opposite of what the proponed to do.

Tell Secretary of the Interior (ex-rancher) Ken Salazar exactly what you think of his actions selling out to the ranching lobby and backwards thinking, ill-informed state governments.

Ken Salazar
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240

Support Defenders of Wildlife any way you can, they are pulling out all the stops and have already garnered 80,000 signatures on a petition to Secretary Salazar in just a few days.

These are your resources and my resources, they are not the property of the states or the ranchers or the small-minded, testosterone-driven hunters. Don't let this illegal and unethical activity continue unchecked.
The Long Road South
Friday, October 16, 2009 | Author: eventer79
Friday Fun Fact!

It's migration season, the time of year when animal species around the world complete ming-boggling feats of endurance and determination. Best known of these journeys are those completed by feathered denizens of the sky.

Some warblers (a common local one here is the prothonotary warbler, pictured) complete their journeys, as many birds do, with no stopovers. It's a single, all-out flight from summer to winter feeding grounds. And they cover as much as 1,900 miles in just three days. That's like you driving from San Francisco to the Mississippi River. Only you weigh two pounds and can only use your tiny flapping wings to get there.

Makes me tired just thinking about it...

So help out a songbird or two in fall and spring. Feeders and water can go a long way towards helping out an exhausted bunting or oriole or warbler as many places they would normally obtain food and water along their route have been destroyed by development. Seeing them able to rest and fly off refreshed is a colourful thank you salute.
What's The Point?
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 | Author: eventer79
I recently stumbled upon this post on one of my favourite blogs, Cool Green Science (although I can't keep up with it, it moves so fast!).

It hits on an important issue: most people DON'T understand why conservation is important. We, as conservationists, are not vocal enough, not clear enough, with the most vital part of the message: that the well-being of the natural world is indeed critical to human survival and well-being. No plants, no animals, no water = no people, no society. But few are getting that message.

The author, Jeff Opperman, a fellow freshwater conservation biologist, talks about several good points, stating that

Expecting nature to always pay its way, in a strict sense, would be no different than suggesting that the National Gallery should sell its most valued paintings to private collectors because the most economically efficient use of those hundreds of millions of dollars would be to reinvest them in health care or education.

And not only does the natural world provide us emotional and spiritual well-being, but it also provides us with the means to stay alive. Worldwide, people depend on natural ecosystems for jobs, food, and energy and there is often a direct relationship between the health of resources and the health of the inhabitants.

As biologists, we are behind the scenes, under the radar. We snuggle up with the Man Behind The Curtain, although he never lets us pull the control levers. We need to step into full view and in exchange, we need the populace to open their minds to the idea that man cannot live on prime time TV alone...
Mr. Fuzzy Lies
Tuesday, October 06, 2009 | Author: eventer79
In order to address a very pressing issue brought up in yesterday's comments, I had to delve deep into the research files to answer a critical question:

Can woolly worm caterpillars indeed predict the severity of winter?

Drum roll.......

No. Research indicates that there is no correlation between the width of the 'pillars' brown stripes and winter weather. Raising broods of woolly worms in identical conditions reveals that variations in colour pattern are simply that -- natural variations among individual 'pillars.

Bummer. But that doesn't mean you can't still enjoy the annual Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, NC during the third weekend of October! Bring your best racing stock, as "Saturday’s winning Woolly Worm holds the esteemed honor of predicting the winter weather season and the Woolly Worm wins prize monies of $1000, which we hope the winning worm shares with its owner."

No one likes a selfish caterpillar.

Fall Is In The Air
Monday, October 05, 2009 | Author: eventer79
It's grey out, and damp, that damp that tells the trees it's time to slowly retreat into dormancy. I'm worn out from field season, which is why my posts have been sporadic at best. My apologies. I even missed your Friday Fun Fact last week, sigh. I have trouble facing myself...

Long awaited vacation begins this week and I hold out hope of achieving some level of refreshment, drinking the wind and watching the bobbing motion of shorebirds on a barrier island. It is many moons overdue (and I laughed at I actually typed many moons in a sentence).

Drink deep that fall air, wanderers. Watch the wildlife around you prepare for the hard times ahead, when food and water can be scare and survival questionable. Just this morning, I sighted a plump groundhog digging for snacks on a highway median and I hoped that he would keep to the median and not the blacktop! More often now, I hear the sad song of the Canada geese as they salute my roof with southbound wingtips. I always wished I could fly along with them, just to know what it was like to follow the compass needle within to the safety of winter food and habitat.